The Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition (MEJC) is a statewide coalition working to achieve a clean, healthy, and safe environment for Michigan’s most vulnerable residents in alignment with Principles of Environmental Justice established by the Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991, in Washington DC.
Over a period of 6 years, 31 activists, leaders, scholars and scientists worked together to create the Michigan Environmental Justice Plan: a robust, multi-sector framework, to reduce environmental harm on vulnerable populations across the state. The Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition formed in the wake of the signing of the Michigan Environmental Justice Directive in 2009 owing to concerns that state agencies in Michigan were not doing enough to fulfill the Michigan Environmental Justice Plan. In response to this crisis, MEJC has worked on a number of fronts, from addressing concerns about how well state scorecards address harms to seeking to build statewide support for environmental justice. In 2014, MEJC hosted the first ever statewide conference on Environmental Justice issues, funded by the Michigan State University Sustainable Michigan Endowed Project and the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Over 300 people attended the event, which featured one day of presentations, updates and calls for action. Following the summit, MEJC members met together to discuss the next steps in promoting the Michigan Environmental Justice Plan and improving environmental justice protection in our towns, cities, and neighborhoods.
Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition Coordinator: Michelle Martinez
Michelle Martinez is a Latinx-Mestiza environmental justice activist, writer, and mother born in, living and working in SW Detroit. Since 2006, she has worked in local communities of color to build power to halt climate change, and the detrimental effects of pollution in post-industrial Detroit. Working across issues of race, gender, and nationality, she has built and led coalitions using art / media, land-based programming, popular education, voter engagement, and corporate accountability tactics to shape policy solutions against environmental racism.
Currently, she is the Executive Director of Third Horizon Consulting, which strives to empower people to make collective decisions strategically for more sustainable and equitable social change. She has a MS from the University of Michigan School of Nature Resources and Environment , and BA in English Literature, also from UM . In 2017, completed a fellowship with Detroit Equity Action Lab [DEAL] at Wayne State University Law School’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights and her Certificate in Diversity Leadership from Michigan State University Julian Samora Research Institute. In her everyday life she cares for her home, and family, as a gardener, mother, and artist.